Amphitheater unveils new orchestra pit Saturday in Vail |

Amphitheater unveils new orchestra pit Saturday in Vail

Daily staff report
Vail CO Colorado

VAIL – Live musical accompaniment will become an even more integral part of the performance environment at the Vail International Dance Festival this summer thanks to a brand new orchestra pit at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, the primary venue for festival shows.-

Sunday’s performance by the Pacific Northwest Ballet will debut the pit, which has been under construction since last fall. The space holds up to 40 musicians off-stage, allowing festival director Damian Woetzel to incorporate live music into the lineup in ways never possible before.-

“You can think of live music for dance as high-octane fuel – it gives the dancers and the choreography a boost, and spurs us on,” said Woetzel. “There is also the sheer beauty of hearing music created. It’s viscerally exciting, and that translates to an added energy as well as another powerful input to the creativity one hopes for in a dance performance.”

The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater has long been considered a premier venue for music and dance, as the main venue for the annual dance festival as well as the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and countless concerts and events throughout the summer months.

The completion of the pit allows organizers to expand upon the programming, choreography and scope of the performances presented on stage.

The debut of the pit is celebrated by a repertoire that not only appreciates – but hinges on – the inclusion of live music. Pacific Northwest Ballet performs tonight and Sunday, with carefully chosen live music accompaniment to celebrate the venues new orchestral addition.

“(George Balanchine’s) ‘Serenade’ is wholly built around the music of Tchaikovsky, and to have that music played live to accompany the masterpiece will add so much to the performance for the audience and for the dancers themselves,” Woetzel said. “I can’t wait to hear the first beautiful chords emerge into the air under the moonlight as the dancers take their places – magic!”

In addition to live accompaniment for Serenade tonight, solo violinist Mary Rowell will perform from the pit for Ulysses Dove’s “Red Angels.” The pit will be used on Sunday night’s performance of “Cool” from the popular West Side Story Suite.

Tickets for Saturday and Sunday’s performances – and for the entire festival, which runs through Aug. 10 – are available at

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